After 25 years in jail, Perarivalan wants to know how Sanjay Dutt got away
Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A.G. Perarivalan has filed a complaint against the public information officer of Yerwada Central Prison in Pune for denying him the details he had sought on Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt’s early release from jail.
Perarivalan, who has been in jail for the last 25 years without bail or parole, had sought documents to study the grounds under which Dutt was allowed to serve a lowered sentence compared to the 5-year term he was handed out.
Originally, Perarivalan was given the death sentence for providing two 9-volt battery cells to Sivarasan, the mastermind behind the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. According to the prosecution, the batteries triggered the improvised explosive device which caused the blast. However, Tamil Nadu DGP (Retired) V. Thiagarajan, who recorded the TADA confessional statements in this case, confessed before media in 2013 that he had failed to record the confession of Perarivalan as verbatim and Perarivalan did not know that Rajiv Gandhi was going to be killed. The confession was the only evidence put forth by the prosecution to put Perarivalan behind bars for 25 years for the conspiracy charge.
Sanjay Dutt’s case is almost similar to Perarivalan’s but while Perarivalan had supplied batteries, Dutt stored an assault rifle. Perarivalan’s complaint says Dutt was “convicted of illegally keeping and destroying an AK 47 rifle” in the 1993 Bombay blasts in which 257 people were killed and many hundreds injured. The case was investigated by CBI and Dutt was punished under Arms Act which is a Central act. However, Dutt was released from the Yerwada jail on February 25, eight months before he was to be released.
Perarivalan’s RTI application was to find out the provisions of law that gave the actor the benefit of early release. The Public Information Officer of the jail was reluctant to respond and delayed it for a considerable period. After repeated enquiries, the officer replied that the information requested was related to “third party person” and therefore rejected. As the next step, Perarivalan lodged an appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA), the Deputy Superintendent, Yerwada central prison, who also refused to furnish the information.
‘Since the state should never release a convict on illegal provisions, how could it deny the right to get the information’, Perarivalan’s complaint to the Maharashtra State Information Commission said. He demanded more transparency on the authorities’ decision to release Dutt. “I pray that my RTI application be treated as urgent as my premature release case is nearing and also this application is closely and substantially related to my life and liberty,” Perarivalan requested in the original RTI petition submitted in Yerwada jail. But till now, even after 25 years in prison, the state and its systems are not ready to pay heed to his plea for justice.
“I pray that my RTI application be treated as urgent as my premature release case is nearing and also this application is closely and substantially related to my life and liberty,” Perarivalan requested in the original RTI petition submitted in Yerwada jail. But till now, even after 25 years in prison, the state and its systems are not ready to pay heed to his plea for justice. At the same time, another man who was convicted on more serious charges could get out of jail even before completing his five-year imprisonment.